Kukla's Korner

Can You Say The Pressure Is On The Lightning

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,

Standing on the fourth floor of the team hotel Sunday afternoon, moments after a 35-minute meeting, Lightning forward Brian Boyle said, "We know what is at stake."

Teammate and defenseman Victor Hedman, just a few feet away and wearing his Rays cap backward, said, "(Tonight) is the biggest game of the season."

Both are absolutely right. A lot is at stake tonight when the Lightning plays the Red Wings in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series. And of course it is the biggest game of the season for Tampa Bay, which trails the best-of-seven series three games to two.

Yet, Boyle and Hedman had no idea that their strong words really didn't encompass everything that is at stake in this biggest game of the season. Not only would a Lightning loss end what has been a terrific season, it would do even more damage than that.

Reputations are on the line. Legacies are at stake. Maybe even futures would be brought into question.

If the Lightning goes away as meekly tonight as it did in paralyzing shutout losses in Games 3 and 5, some key Lightning faces will take a major hit.

continued

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Wild Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe McDonald of ESPN,

It was only fitting for Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" to be blaring from the sound system in the Minnesota Wild locker room Sunday evening.

The Wild had just eliminated the St. Louis Blues with a 4-1 win in Game 6 of their Western Conference first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

"It's a great accomplishment what we just did ... and we're not done," said Wild coach Mike Yeo.

Standing right below one of the speakers was Wild assistant captain Zach Parise, who scored a pair of goals, including a short-handed tally. It's been an emotional season for him and his teammates.

Now, it's only going to get more intense.

Minnesota will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round, the third consecutive postseason the teams have met, with the Blackhawks winning the previous two series.

"Don't get me wrong, it's great for us to win and beat a really good St. Louis team, and we should enjoy it for a couple of days and we'll be looking forward to our series against Chicago," Parise said. "That's a team that's knocked us out the last couple of years, so we've got to be ready for them."

continued

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Done In St. Louis

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Say goodbye to the Blues, to some of them perhaps for good.

Another 100-plus point season ended Sunday with a third consecutive first-round playoff exit, and this one could lead to the most drastic changes fans have seen in some time.

Minnesota topped the Blues 4-1 in Game 6 at Xcel Energy Center, claiming the best-of-seven series four games to two. The Wild advanced to face Chicago in the second round.

“We do what we need to do in the regular season and once the postseason hits, we’re not able to get over that hump,” Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. “It’s just a very frustrating thing to deal with year after year.”

continued

from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Disptach,

The Blues added another first-round playoff flop to their sad history. They entered the postseason with great expectations and departed amid, again, much exasperation.

This was the last time this collection of players and coaches will work together. Disaster brings consequences. Change is inevitable, perhaps significant change.

“It’s terrible right now,” Allen said. “To get a chance to win a Stanley Cup, it doesn’t happen too often in your career. Especially with a team like this.”

So Allen earned his spot on the Pantheon of Blues Goaltending Failures, joining the likes of Ryan Miller, Chris Osgood, Roman Turek, Jon Casey, Curtis Joseph (Keenan Era only) and, of course, Jaroslav Halak’s balky groin muscles — famously fragile body parts that have their own special place in franchise lore.

This crushing series defeat is not entirely Allen’s fault, of course, but three bad goals in two games sped this team’s downfall.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Carey Price Gets The Silent Treatment

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Talk Before The Game

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Mrazek has shutouts in two of the past three games and is the main reason the Lightning can't find the net. But the Red Wings are playing much better in front of him than they did the first two games. They're executing in their own zone, spending more time in the offensive zone and playing the Lightning tight in the neutral zone.

"Cutting them off in the neutral zone is big," Detroit forward Drew Miller said. "They're a team that wants to play with speed and a lot of pace, so if you take that away they got to figure out different ways to play. I think getting in on their D was big and making them turn the puck over or take some hits."

The Red Wings also are deeper up front since Game 3 with the return of Justin Abdelkader and the emergence of Riley Sheahan, who's scored two goals in three games and more engaged physically after struggling the first two games.

"We got Abdelkader back, so what did Abby coming back do?" Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It allowed (Henrik Zetterberg) to move into the middle. It allowed Sheahan to be in a better matchup spot. It just gave us overall depth there. The other thing is Riley Sheahan after a tough start is really become Riley again. Suddenly, we've got four centers instead of two centers, it's a big difference.

"For whatever reason, we seem to be more comfortable. We're executing better and playing with more pace and limiting their opportunities more."

more

Below, watch Craig Custance and Katie Strang of ESPN discuss tonight's game 6...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

The Season Comes To An End For The Ottawa Senators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

These Ottawa Senators were not a team of destiny.

They were something much, much greater than that.

There was nothing mystical or magical behind an improbable run that captured imaginations in the nation’s capital. No, this was simply about sacrifice and togetherness and belief — qualities they should be commended for despite a six-game loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I’m extremely proud of this group,” Senators coach Dave Cameron said after Sunday’s 2-0 heartbreaker. “You look at not just the results, but you look at the commitment and you look at the blocked shots and you look at the compete level and you look at the professionalism, you look at how they handled the day-to-day stuff. …

“I think when we get over the (disappointment) and look back we’ll feel pretty good about what we accomplished here.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Mike Milbury And Jeremy Roenick On The St. Louis Blues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

You will also hear from Jake Allen and Ken Hitchcock...

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Videos- Recap Of The Playoff Games Played Yesterday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Highlights presented by the NHL...

 

 

And by Sportsnet below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Montreal Canadiens Advance To The Second Round Of The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-0 thus winning the series 4-2.

They will play the wtnner of the Detroit/Tampa series.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Coach’s Corner Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

Don Cherry and Ron Maclean discuss all the hot topics in the NHL, including what the Flames have accomplished without Mark Giordano and also identify some unsung playoff stars.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+cherry, ron+maclean

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